Friday, October 12, 2018

Laura Cattabriga and the Debate

If you're looking for a report piece by piece on last night's debate, you're not going to find it here.   

The entire debate is online at the Village Website and you can watch from the comfort of your own streaming device.   

My purpose today is to unpack the questions and the statements made at the debate and I will start with Laura Cattabriga.   

I have written before that Laura Cattabriga is a master of the loaded question and innuendo while never providing answers herself and last night, her performance as the idealistic public servant confused by what she characterizes as hostile opposition shone through.   


Please note that I am using "fabrications" and not "lies".  Fabrications are carefully crafted stories based on disparate facts to build a conclusion.   And Laura is a master of this.   Say one thing, jump over the middle thing, add an unrelated third thing and then wonder how anyone can contradict her?  It's a classic evasion practiced by politicos and bunkum artists selling questionable products.   

Cattabriga claims to have a "natural curiosity" and "critical thinking" skills.  Seriously, she said that.  She may be all that but just doesn't understand answers very well.  

Let's look at how Cattabriga used this method last night.   

The Big Doubt.  

Cattabriga wondered if Brent Latham even lives here.  She based her question on the following facts:

  • His children attend South Pointe Elementary.   
  • He inherited a property in 2017 in Miami Shores, left to him by his grandfather, and the homestead exemption for the property still showed in 2017.
  • Had anyone ever seen him in North Bay Village before July?   
Latham answered these questions directly:
  • His children, like Laura's, attend South Pointe because they are enrolled in a program available only at South Pointe.  
  • The Miami Shores property showed the homestead for the tax year 2017.  This is the legal requirement as the owner, Brent's late grandfather, lived there and filed it. It was cleared in 2018, when homestead was no longer appropriate.  
  • Among the people who have known Brent for the last 5 years on North Bay Island are Cattabriga and her family.   
Not content to leave the doubts there, Cattabriga took a swipe at Brent's wife because she is president of the PTA at her kids' school.  

That in the process, Cattabriga disrespected a recently deceased family member, used his memory as a way to imply criminality on her opponent's part, took a swipe at his kids for being in school (seriously leave kids out of it!) and Latham's wife.   

All so she should could put out the fabrication, which will be coming to a mailbox near you shortly. 

Cattabriga said she only had been on the dais for only 8 months so it wasn't fair to complain that she did not do any of the things she now says she will do if only she becomes mayor.  

  • She's totally committed to combating sea level rise and it's not her fault that there are $0 for resiliency in the budget. 
  • She is wide open to communication and she can't help it if residents don't know when the sewer project will be done and the streets repaved.  They could call "Village Hall" and someone would surely tell them plus there are things on the web that might help.   
  • People throw their every grievance on her and are disappointed because she hasn't responded.  
Latham pointed out that a mayor, who is of equal power, has only 24 months and apparently Cattabriga wasted her last 8 months.   


Cattabriga said that Latham's promise to recuse himself should the lawsuit by a campaign donor come before the commission showed that Latham didn't understand government because you're not allowed to recuse yourself.  

This is a bit of crazy spread about the current mayor who swears that she heard it somewhere.  

It is, oh how to put this, the exact opposite of the truth.  In fact, commissioners are obligated to recuse themselves when there is conflict.  

This piece of nonsense was put out because Cattabriga has been eagerly soliciting donations from village contractors and developers and has no intention of recusing herself when their issues come up.  

"My Opponent's Supporters and Why I Took The Seat"

Okay, buckle up.  This part is rough.   Cattabriga masterfully fabricated her role in the Hornsby lawsuit by saying that she was only interested in getting at the truth of Hornsby's eligibility to serve.  Cattabriga failed in her lawsuit but she did not mention that.  Instead, she brought forth an opinion from the elections department that Hornsby needed to reregister and completely ignored the part that required the commission to follow our charter procedures to hold a hearing on the subject, which the commission did not do.   Then she claimed Hornsby's seat for herself.   

This in her mind is supported by the fact that Sissy Shute hosted a meet and greet attended by over 100 residents and every major political candidate in Miami Dade.   The crowd was open, enthusiastic and  clearly not supporting Cattabriga.  So Cattabriga is attempting to tie this into a vast conspiracy of people unaccountably out to get her.  Poor Cattabriga.   

Cattabriga never explained why she thought she should take the Hornsby seat and never acknowledged how it looked.  

Cattabriga made sweeping misstatements about Latham's suporters while refusing to acknowledge that she has very sparse but powerful support, simply painting people who support Latham as "negative" unlike her bright positive outlook.   

Cattabriga never spoke about why the subcontracted village attorney Neil Kodsi donated to her campaign, or every developer, or other village contractors.   


Everyone Does It - The Excuse

Following the commission effort to fire Yvonne Hamilton for appearing in a video campaign diary by a candidate, Cattabriga "tabled" the motion to fire while pronouncing herself "deeply disturbed."  

When confronted on her own use, without permission, of uniformed North Bay Village Police Officers and children in campaign materials, she smiled condescendingly and explained that "everyone does it."  

It's apparently enough to fire a 29 year employee but when it's her, well.  

Cattabriga Says She Is A Fresh Face In North Bay Village

No she's not.   Cattabriga might as well be Laura Cattabriga Kreps.    

Her campaign is being run by Strategic Campaign Consultants,  (see her finance reports), the same one man show who represents all the developers in North Bay Village, as well as strip clubs around the area, and who ran Connie Leon Kreps campaigns and Cattabriga is supported by the wife of Commissioner Jose Alvarez, the Vice Mayor and the Connie Leon Kreps herself, who sat in the front row next to a PR person.    

Cattabriga did not distance herself from the shambolic steps made by the mayor, including even defending legal services contracted without any comparison, is accepting donations from village contractors, and surrounds herself with the same people who have dragged the Village down to where it is now.  

She is not a fresh face, just the same one in different lighting.  

Cattabriga's Business

When the subject came up that Cattabriga never registered her several LLC's in North Bay Village for Business Tax Receipts, she explained that like many others, she serially starts LLC's and they usually don't make money but the one she was called out on, she registered last month.  So nothing there.  

Except it's not really borne out by the facts.  For one, she registered a company called Fixation Systems in 2014 to her home address.  Here's the document.  But she never paid business taxes on it.  Maybe because of the fraud lawsuit


Excuse the use of ALL CAPS.  I got excited.  

Okay, I'm calm now.  

Laura Cattabriga signed the Voluntary Ethical Campaign Pledge which requires her to actively conduct a truthful and honest campaign.  It includes an obligation, not a suggestion, that the signer, again, VOLUNTARY, must not only adhere to the laws of the county, but must also not misrepresent facts (e.g. her opponent's residence), not allow her supporters to do so, and must condemn anonymous attacks on her opponent, among other things.  

So far

  • Cattabriga continues to misrepresent where Latham lives, including in her mailing today.  
  • Cattabriga's supporters have posted vile anonymous videos on Youtube attacking residents for the thought crime of not supporting her and has refused to condemn the same.  
  • Cattabriga continues to misrepresent the facts about herself by claiming no business tax violation while attacking the opponent's marriage.   

Kevin Vericker
October 12, 2018

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